The Moonlight Sonata Concert has become one of the most popular traditions of Midtåsen Culture festival – and every year the concert starts with the first movement of the famous sonata. On July 5 this year as well. The singers and pianists also present a wide range of music related to the moon and nice summer evenings and nights from the classical repertoire, lieder and musicals. Désirée Baraula, Gro Bente Kjellevold, Ingvild G. Loen, Mathilde S. Marjavara, Silvia Moi, Jørgen Backer, Magnus D. Kjeldal, Magnus Staveland and the pianist Ivar Anton Waagaard are this year’s performers. Since Beethoven admired the ideals of the French revolution, Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune has the honour of starting the second half of the concert.

Since we are celebrating Beethoven’s 250th anniversary throughout 2020, we would like to do something spectacular on this very evening: WE WILL WAIT FOR THE FULL MOON! When the full moon is situated right above the fiord – making it all golden – around one o’clock at night, we will play all the 3 movements of the Moonlight Sonata. In the atmosphere of the most beautiful scenery, light and view of the fiord and the moonlit sky. Definitely a “Once in a lifetime experience!”

Opus 1 no. 1 is a perfect piece for Grieg Trio to open their concert on July 7. They will also play the magnificent Trio opus 97 – The Archduke. Shostakovich was a great admirer of Beethoven, so it suits the programme nicely to play his Trio no. 1 opus 8. Grieg Trio was founded in 1987 and is one of the leading Norwegian chamber music ensembles. Sølve Sigerland, violin, Ellen M. Flesjø, cello, and Vebjørn Anvik, piano, have won numerous awards and toured great parts of the world.

Hammerklavier and cello is the title of the concert in Midtåsen Sculpture Pavilion on July 11 where Tor Espen Aspaas is playing Beethoven’s instrument. Together with Kjersti Rydsaa, cello, he will play the two first sonatas for cello and piano by Beethoven – opus 5 no. 1 and 2 from 1796. Aspaas is professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music and is writing a PhD on Beethoven’s art of improvisation. Rydsaa is a sought after chamber and orchestral musician, and the two of them have been artistic directors for Vinterspill i Bergstaden in more periods – last time at the 20th anniversary in 2019.

One could search for a long time after more relaxing and meditative music than the slow movements by Beethoven. This year the Silence Concert is devoted to his music. Silence concerts focusing on a deaf composer? That will give these occasions a quite special dimension. The picture of Beethoven lying with his ear glued to his piano trying to hear a sound, is something one never forget. So the Hammerklavier is also central in these concerts – and not the, least the Grand Old Lady of the Hammerklavier, Liv Glaser. Liv Glaser performs two movements from the Piano Sonatas, and together with the young violinist Edvard Erdal two slow movements from the Violin Sonatas. Erdal is Concert Master 2 in the orchestra at The Norwegian Opera and member of the string quartet Opus13. Quiet music composed by Beethoven in the atmosphere of Knut Steen’s marble sculptures, the fantastic acoustic of the hall, in harmony with nature and the universe – a great meditative opportunity you may experience on July 12, 18 and 19.

There is no doubt that we are focusing on a Viennese Golden Era this summer. Alongside Beethoven there are also the two masters Mozart and Schubert. Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte is more than likely the first real song cycle composed, and here it is presented together with songs from Schubert’s Winterreise and selected songs by Mozart. On Sunday July 12 the singers Jørgen Backer, Magnus Staveland, Gro Bente Kjellevold, Ingvild G. Loen and Silvia Moi, the violinist Edvard Erdal and the pianists Ivar Anton Waagaard and Tor Espen Aspaas will make a tribute An die Musik!

Hemsing and Aspaas will take us on a journey from Beethoven to Myllarguten on July 16. Ragnhild Hemsing is the only Norwegian musician that has been awarded the Beethoven-Ring – a prize that is given by the Bürger für Beethoven in Bonn once a year. Beethoven war ein Rheinländer – and Myllarguten was a master fiddler playing the dance Reinlender – which Ragnhild Hemsing will perform nice examples of by playing both the violin and the Hardanger fiddle. Accompanied by Tor Espen Aspaas on the piano we can look forward to music by Beethoven, Grieg and traditional folk music.

It is always a privilege to present up-and-coming young players at Midtåsen Culture Festival – this summer a complete string quartet. Opus13 is made up by the violinists Sonoko Miriam Welde and Edvard Erdal, Michael Grolid, viola and Daniel Thorell, cello, and is named after the passionate string quartet in a-minor composed by Felix Mendelssohn. Michael Grolid is a student at the Karajan Academy in Berlin and Daniel Thorell is finishing his Master Studies at the Norwegian Academy of Music and a is a member of the cellist Gautier Capuçons Classe d’Excellence. July 17 they will perform Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet opus 20 no. 2, Beethoven opus 135 alongside opus 13 by Mendelssohn.

Same procedure as every year: we will of course invite you to an Operetta Evening at Arnebergstuen at Midtåsen – this year on July 8 – and a French Evening in the Bankettsalen at Scandic Park Sandefjord on the French National Day, July 14. Enjoying a 5-course meal prepared by the chefs at Park Hotel and Unike Hoteller while listening to the best of French and Operetta music has become very popular over the years. At the moment there are a waiting list for tickets.


On the terrace in front of the villa Midtåsen daily Café Concerts take place at noon in the period from July 7 till 19 (except July 13). Four groups of singers and pianists perform light music while you may enjoy lunch from Unike Hotellers café. Here you can meet the four young musicians we’ve selected as Talents of the year – Rebecca Nøstrud Isaksen, violin, from Larvik, Sina Lauvålien, viola, Jakob Bjønnes, piano and Samuel Sabbah, piano, all from Sandefjord. You can listen to their talented playing three times during the festival.

The café part of the Café Concert costs 100 kr., and you can choose between cake/coffee, cake/mineral water, a beer or a glass of wine – or you may deduct the 100 kr. from the price of a nice luncheon course. The concert part of the Café Concert is free for all members of Kulturelt Initiativ – and for persons under the age of 18 – and costs 100 kr. for non-members.

Please see this link for this summer’s festival programme:



Odd Gleditsch


Einar Abrahamsen
Andebu Sparebank
Hvallfangstens hus
Thor Dahl
Dukken 3
Sandefjords Blad
Skagerak Energi


Sandefjord kommune
Sparebankstiftelsen DNB - Dextra
Vestfold og Telemark fylkeskommune
Anders Jahres Humanitære stiftelse

The German Embassy, Oslo – The Austrian Embassy, Oslo – Scandic Park Sandefjord

CSD Sealing & Protecting Systems AS – Unike Hoteller – bk

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